Highlands Reserve is a popular package holiday resort with many major European holiday companies like Tui, Thomson, Virgin and First Choice offering villa accommodation in the resort along with flights and car hire. This may be marginally easier than organising the three key elements of any orlando holiday yourself but will be materially more expensive and is unlikely to deliver you the best accommodation. Many package operators cannot, and do not, commit to specific accommodation at time of booking so you have no way of knowing (or having any major input in to) your villa choice; key in ensuring you have a great holiday. A far better option is to book villa accommodation, flights and car hire separately. Highlands Reserve is one of Orlando's most popular holiday rental resorts. Booking direct from an owner gives you the opportunity not only to select the optimal property for your stay but also secure the best deal.
Reasons to book villa and flights separately:
Booking the villa and flights separately requires some ground work. Flights are often the most expensive element of the trip so finding the cheapest flights first is usually a good place to start. Build up a series of flight options and dates. These should then be used to begin the accommodation search.
Many of the major European tour operators (Virgin, Thomson, First Choice) offer package holidays securing accommodation in Highlands Reserve from private owners by routing bookings through management companies. Some owners will have handed their property entirely over to a management company. Such an approach erodes the care and attention a direct relationship between holidaymaker and owner engenders. Most owners in Highlands Reserve won't rent their property to tour operators as they want direct contact with whoever is staying in their property and generally resent having a third party make large profits from rental of their property. Owners who rent the property and handle all bookings themselves generally have a care and attention to detail you won't receive from a large corporate holiday company.
You will find numerous tepid or negative reviews of property rentals at Highlands Reserve through tour operators primarily centering around the general cleanliness of the property or the care and attention provided during the stay. While most properties will be handled day to day by a local management company who clean and prepare the property as well as handle immediate issues, owners are often on hand to escalate issues to and provide advice. This can be useful if you are staying in Orlando or Highlands Reserve for the first time and need local insight before or during your stay.
Book through a holiday company and you won't have control over your property selection. Anyone who has ever booked a property rental online before knows that the look and feel of the pictures, the size and floorplan of the house, other amenities like pool and games room and the location within a resort are all major contributors when making a final decision.
Flights are the biggest and less flexible of the two parameters. Our advice is to book flights as early as possible and then leave the villa booking until later. Highlands Reserve is a 900 home resort with the majority of those available for short term rental so the property options are wide and varied. Leaving it later makes securing a deal more likely. Search availability for properties that can cater for your flight dates and then review each availability calendar. If the property is booked either side then an owner will be far more conducive to offering reductions to fill the slot in between. Your booking may leave awkward gaps in an availability calendar like 5 days which are unlikely to be filled. Put yourself in their shoes and think like an owner. Alternatively flip round your approach and do this first and then secure the flights but as always flights are the less fluid of the two so you leave yourself open to losing the financial benefits by leaving yourself with fixed dates you need to secure flights for.